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Accurate, Timely Foodborne Illness Data Needed to Improve U.S. Food Safety

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

(American Meat Institute)

Food attribution data is essential to understand better the relationship and associated risks between microorganisms and food, the American Meat Institute (AMI) told the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration and USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service today, and better food attribution data is critical in enhancing food safety.  AMI made its comments in a public meeting held today to discuss federal efforts to enhance food safety strategies through the improved use and characterization of foodborne illness source attribution. 

“Having and utilizing objective data allows food safety stakeholders to allocate food safety resources appropriately and scientifically justify the decisions made in their food safety systems,” AMI Director of Scientific Affairs Betsy Booren, Ph.D., said.  “By having timely, credible food attribution data, the food industry can accurately identify and improve any food safety gaps that may exist.  It also may help identify emerging foodborne risks, especially when such risks have not been previously associated with specific foods.”

AMI recommended several key steps:

“AMI recognizes the challenges of accurately estimating the burden of foodborne disease and attributing these burdens to food types, but these metrics are essential,” Booren said. “The last decade has shown the important role cooperation and communication among public health officials, regulators, the food industry, and other allied stakeholders have had on improving food safety.” 

The full comments are available here: http://www.meatinstitute.org/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/75353.

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